17 April 2013

Waddle you do for the African Penguin?

The 2013 Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week will take place from 22 to 27 April 2013. This is the third year that a group of intrepid Waddlers will be setting off from Gansbaai and making their way to Simon’s Town, raising much-needed awareness about the plight of the endangered African penguin.

The Penguin Promises Waddle for a week is an AKAA (Animal Keepers Association of Africa) initiative. The group of 16 tackling the 120km walk consists of animal keepers and animal enthusiasts from around South Africa. Representing uShaka Sea World in Durban are Gabrielle Harris (and her son, Kai), Jane Dlamini, Peter Baloi, Tarryn Abrahams, Paul Lotter and Natasha Lotter. The team from the Two Oceans Aquarium comprises Hayley McLellan, Steven Casper, Nasmie Simons, Fiona McLellan and Katja Rockstroh. Nikki Chapman of Brands for Change and June Smith, Andrea Cronje and Carol Ellerker of Biggarsberg will also be waddling with the group.

The Waddlers encourage people to walk with them for as long as they can and to make their promise at ipromise@penguinpromises.com. The final day of the Waddle, Saturday 27 April, will see the group leave from Muizenberg at 09h00. They aim to reach Simon’s Town by 13h00 and would love as many Capetonians as possible, dressed in black and white, to join them.

See photos from previous Waddles in the gallery

We don’t want your money honey, we want your love!

penguin waddle, two oceans aquarium, african penguin
Zuki. Photo by Helen Lockhart
The Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week campaign, generously sponsored by CapeNature and Chrysler Jeep Dodge – Newlands, is not a fundraising campaign. Instead, the campaign focuses on raising awareness about the plight of the African penguin. Current data suggests that there are only about 60 000 of these endemic birds left on Southern African shores, and scientists believe that they could be extinct in the wild within 20 years. Overfishing, climate change, pollution and habitat destruction are just some of the factors taking their toll on the species.

“We call on all South Africans to promise to make a change in their daily lives that will effect positive change in the environment, and in the lives of African penguins. People are encouraged to promise to stop using plastic drinking straws, to eat only SASSI green-listed seafood (or to stop eating seafood altogether!), or to stop using single-use plastic bags for shopping. These changes can have an immense positive impact when they are made collectively,” says Hayley McLellan, senior bird trainer at the Two Oceans Aquarium. “We urge people to support Penguin Promises by sending their promise to ipromise@penguinpromises.com.”

For further information about the Penguin Promises Waddle for a Week, visit www.penguinpromises.com or email Hayley McLellan on hayley.mclellan@aquarium.co.za.

We’ll be blogging and tweeting on the road, so keep an eye on the blog during Waddle week – and read about how last year’s Waddle went here.

Facts about the African Penguin

  • Currently, only about 60 000 African penguins are left in the wild.

  • Between 1900 and 1930, about 13-million penguin eggs were collected for human consumption. This practice was only stopped in 1967.
  • Penguins re-colonised Robben Island in 1983, after an absence of almost 180 years.
  • The first penguins to call Boulder’s Beach “home” were spotted on the beach in 1985.
  • During the 2000 Treasure oil spill, 18 516 oiled birds were rescued from Robben and Dassen Islands. There was a mortality rate of only 10.3% – a vast improvement on previous rescues.
 A total of 12 000 volunteers worked 556 000 hours during the rescue operation.
  • Scientists believe that the endangered African penguin will be extinct in the wild within 15 years.

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